News & Events
  • Volvo Car Torslanda celebrates the past 50 years by looking ahead

    2014/04/30
     

    As Volvo Car Torslanda celebrates its 50th anniversary on April 24, the plant is in the midst of its biggest renewal process ever.

    The celebration of 50 years of production at Volvo Car Torslanda is being combined with the inauguration of a new body plant. The new bodybuilding facility is part of the investment in SPA (Scalable Product Architecture), which forms the basis for scalable and flexible development and production of forthcoming models.

    Volvo Cars' investments in SPA between 2011 and 2015 will exceed 70 billion Swedish kronor. Half this investment is in Sweden, and one-third of the Swedish investments are earmarked for expansion of and upgrades to the Swedish production plants.

    According to Lars Wrebo, Senior Vice President Purchasing & Manufacturing, these investments represent major opportunities for Volvo Car Torslanda in the future.

    "We are talking about a gigantic project which in financial terms is on a par with the construction of the Oresund Bridge linking Sweden to Denmark. The advantage of Volvo Car Torslanda being given the mandate to build the all-new XC90 is that the expertise of our employees will also benefit the development of our forthcoming models," he explains.

    Volvo Car Torslanda's history began in 1957. The demand for cars increased rapidly as the standard of living rose. The old factory in Lundby could not be further extended so two years later, in March 1959, four million square metres of land was acquired in Sörredsdalen on the island of Hisingen, seven kilometres west of the old factory. This was the largest ever land purchase in Sweden's history and on November 4 that year construction started on what would become Volvo Car Torslanda.

    On April 24, 1964 the new plant was inaugurated - a facility of immense dimensions by contemporary standards, with a total floor area of 180,000 square metres. The plant building with its three units measured more than a kilometre in length and the fence surrounding the facility was no less than 4.2 kilometres long.

    The production plan was set for 110,000 cars a year in one-shift operation, 150,000 cars for two shifts and up to 200,000 cars annually in full-scale operation. The plant could handle 1600 bodies or cars simultaneously in various stages of production.

    The total investment was 240 million kronor and the project was able to be completed largely thanks to close cooperation with the Swedish state. Volvo Cars' special status as a vital Swedish exporter and the company's considerable significance at both regional and national level meant the new plant was a matter of prime importance for the entire nation.

    The plant consisted of three units: TA, TB and TC, which still house different parts of the manufacturing process. Today body production in TA and the paintshop in TB are largely automated processes while final assembly and final adjustment in TC is still very much a manual operation.

    For many years Volvo Car Torslanda was Sweden's largest single workplace, with up to 11,000 employees. Today the development of new production systems and automation mean that the total workforce is about 3000 people.

    Today's well-established Lean approach and modern technology permit a production process that is totally regulated by incoming orders from customers the world over. With the help of an optimised logistics system, the plant builds only those cars that customers have actually ordered, to the exact specifications ordered by each customer.

    SPA is a flexible and scalable car architecture that will cover most of Volvo Car Group's forthcoming models. This permits a model range consisting of cars built on standardised modules and scalable systems and components, all manufactured in a flexible production system. SPA also makes Volvo Car Group technically independent as a manufacturer and cuts all links to its previous owner - so much so that within just a few years, this platform will constitute about two-thirds of the company's total sales volume. The aim is that about 40 per cent of all parts will be identical in all Volvo's future models, irrespective of size.

    "The inauguration of TA3 and our focus on SPA shows how determined the company is to upgrade our production in Torslanda and, by extension, boost the future of Volvo Cars as a whole," says Lars Wrebo.

    Some major milestones

    1964

    Torslanda plant inaugurated by King Gustav VI Adolf

    1973

    The first robot for spot-welds becomes operational

    1976

    Three million cars built

    1981

    Surplus heat from BP significantly reduces oil consumption in the plant

    1988

    Construction start for a new paintshop which is the world's most environmentally optimised when it becomes operational in 1992

    1995

    Torslanda plant chosen as Europe's third best car plant and is ISO 9002-certified

    1998

    Torslanda plant environmentally certified as per ISO 14001

    2001

    Major investments for production of the current XC90 and significant capacity increase

    2005

    New production record, 184,293 cars in one year

    2008

    Six million cars produced

    2012

    Construction start for the new body plant, TA3

    2014

    During the plant's 50-year history, a total of 6,834,729 cars have been built

    2014

    On April 24 the new body plant will be inaugurated and Volvo Car Torslanda will celebrate 50 years

    As Volvo Car Torslanda celebrates its 50th anniversary on April 24, the plant is in the midst of its biggest renewal process ever.

    The celebration of 50 years of production at Volvo Car Torslanda is being combined with the inauguration of a new body plant. The new bodybuilding facility is part of the investment in SPA (Scalable Product Architecture), which forms the basis for scalable and flexible development and production of forthcoming models.

    Back